Council’s Step-Up programme secures £3.4million funding
Clare Elliott, Tom Stannard, Cllr Graham and Vicky Iveson
Unemployed residents, across the entire district, will now have greater opportunity to move towards employment after Wakefield Council secured a £3.4million funding pot to provide tailored support to those furthest from the labour market.
The successful bid to the European Social Fund (ESF) was made working closely with a dedicated delivery partnership of Calderdale Council, NOVA Wakefield District Limited and South West Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWYFT) and will provide cross boundary, multi-agency support to unemployed residents who face some of the biggest barriers when finding work.
This funding will be a critical boost to the Council's 'Step-Up' programme which was launched in Knottingley in July and is due to be rolled out across the rest of the district.
As well as focussing on the long-term unemployed and inactive residents by providing support with training, job search and sustained employment, Step-Up also supports those in work to progress towards higher wages or skills and will equip local businesses with the workforces they need to succeed.
Cllr Michael Graham, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Skills, Digital and Technology Capabilities, said: "It is fantastic to get this much needed funding boost to support the roll out of our Step-Up programme and to ensure that we are able to provide enhanced support to those that are not currently in work but that want help to get there.
"Step-Up is a key element in the Wakefield District Economic Strategy, supporting residents to achieve skills to succeed in work and connecting residents to employment opportunities.
"The programme has already helped a number of people into jobs, training and apprenticeships and this fund will help us to reach out across the district so that anyone who needs it has access to this level of support."
Cllr Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Resources, said: "We welcome the opportunity to work with Wakefield Council to help more people into good quality, sustainable work. As part of our investment in this project, people across Calderdale will also get the help they need to achieve their best. This supports our Vision2024 for Calderdale to be a place where all of our talented and enterprising local people have the chance to thrive."
The project will run until the end of 2022. The ESF invests in people, with a focus on improving employment and education opportunities. It also aims to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people at risk of poverty.